CybersecurityWomen in cybersecurity are making a difference

Published 16 April 2018

Women in the cybersecurity industry may not make an impact in terms of numbers, but their work speaks for itself. Shimrit Tzur-David, Ph.D., is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Secret Double Octopus, a cybersecurity company which uses secret sharing, which is used to protect nuclear codes, to enable companies to do away with passwords all together. She was recently interviewed by Information Age.

Women in the cybersecurity industry may not make an impact in terms of numbers, but their work speaks for itself. Shimrit Tzur-David, Ph.D., is the co-founder and chief technology officer of Secret Double Octopus, a cybersecurity company which uses secret sharing, which is used to protect nuclear codes, to enable companies to do away with passwords all together.

AABGU notes that Tzur-David was a postdoctoral researcher at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) under the guidance of Prof. Shlomi Dolev, head of BGU’s Lynne and William Frankel Center for Computer Science. It was there that JVP, one of Israel’s leading venture capital firms, matched her and Prof. Dolev with their now chief executive officer, Raz Rafaeli. And, thus, Secret Double Octopus was born. Prof. Dolev is chief security officer of the company.

Tzur-David was recently interviewed by Information Age. Here ate excerpts:

Information Age: How do your solutions differ from your competitors?
Shimrit Tzur-David
: There are a lot of great solutions being offered now in the security landscape, from multi-factor authentication vendors, to key-based encryption and biometric solutions. Secret Double Octopus differentiates itself from the rest by offering multi-shield protection so the user’s identity and data are still protected even in the case of SMS [text message] hijacking, PKI [public key encryption] manipulation, key theft, or push notification cracking. Additionally, we provide the only solution in the market that applies keyless authentication and data-in-motion protection for cloud, mobile and IoT [Internet of Things].

IA: Is the password dead?
Tzur-David
: It definitely should be. For the past decade, many of the top people in computing have been claiming that the password is dead, and it’s more true now than ever before. With the steady increase of hacks and data breaches in the past ten years, passwords have proven they’re no longer reliable. In fact, four out of five data breaches are due to stolen or weak passwords. Regardless of their securability (or lack thereof), passwords have remained as long as they have because it’s what people know, even though passwords are incredibly frustrating and hard to remember for many users. What needs to happen, and what is currently happening, is companies need to apply new security solutions that don’t compromise positive user experience.

IA: Why are there such few women in the cyber security space?
Tzur-David
: While I may be an expert in cybersecurity, I do not consider myself an expert on gender bias in the tech space and can only speak from my own experiences. I would start off by saying that I am not a women’s rights activist by choice, but that being in an executive position within the IT industry automatically makes me one. I was extremely fortunate in that I knew I was interested in pursuing a career in tech since I was a little girl and nothing could deter me. The tech industry is indeed male dominated and although I have thankfully never encountered gender discrimination personally, I know it exists in our industry.

One reason I think women are discouraged from joining the cyber security industry is because of the working environments and conditions. There are women who don’t feel comfortable in a male-dominated environment due to sexism, which can begin prior to them starting high school. There have been many studies conducted on the low numbers of women in STEM [since, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields, with a variety of different results. Some studies found that teachers of young women are at fault, other studies have pointed a finger at parents and one study even suggested tech’s “geeky environment” as a reason they aren’t interested in STEM fields. If society worked to positively influence young women in tech and STEM, I think there would be a turnaround in terms of numbers. The cyber security field needs a rebranding.

— Read the full article on the Information Age website

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